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What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is caused by a bacteria most often spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. You have an increased risk of chlamydia if you have another STI, such as gonorrhea. Your risk is also higher if you have more than 1 sex partner.

What are the signs and symptoms of chlamydia?

You may have no symptoms. Even without signs and symptoms, you can still pass the infection on to your sex partner. The signs and symptoms of chlamydia are:

  • Vaginal redness or itching
  • Discharge from your vagina, penis, or rectum
  • Pain with urination
  • Pain during sex
  • Abdominal pain
  • Testicular pain
  • Fever

How is chlamydia diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask if you have other health conditions. You may need the following tests:

  • A swab of the fluid from your vagina or penis may be taken. This will be tested for the bacteria that causes chlamydia.
  • A urine sample may be taken to test for the bacteria that causes chlamydia.

How is chlamydia treated?

Antibiotics are given to kill the bacteria that cause chlamydia. Take them as directed. Untreated chlamydia may cause permanent damage to your reproductive system (ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes), chronic pain, or difficulty getting pregnant. It may also cause an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside of the uterus).

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Keep your genital area clean and dry. Take showers instead of baths, and use unscented soap.
  • Do not douche unless your healthcare provider tells you it is okay. Do not use feminine hygiene sprays or powders.

How can I prevent the spread of chlamydia?

  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom. This helps prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of your body, such as your eyes.
  • Wear a latex condom to prevent chlamydia and other STIs. Use a new condom each time you have sex.
  • Talk to your sex partners. Tell anyone you have had sex with in the last 3 months that you have chlamydia. They may also be infected and need treatment. Ask your sex partners to get tested before you have sex.
  • Do not have sex until you and your partner have taken all of your antibiotics. Ask your healthcare provider when it is safe to have sex.
  • Get regular screenings for STIs. Ask your healthcare provider how often to get tested for STIs. He may tell you to get tested after you have sex with a new partner.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant. You can spread chlamydia to your baby while you are pregnant. Your baby could get an eye infection or pneumonia. Chlamydia may also cause your baby to be born too early. Early treatment may prevent your baby from getting chlamydia.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have a fever.
  • You have nausea or you cannot stop vomiting.
  • You have severe abdominal pain.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your signs or symptoms last longer than 1 week or get worse during treatment.
  • Your signs or symptoms return after treatment.
  • You have pain during sex.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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